Far over the Misty Mountains Cold,
To reading books and stories Kvothe told
So today is a special day. Where are my Hobbit friends out there in the wide world of the Internet?
You know what today is!
The Eleventy-First Birthday Party of Bilbo Baggins! Where there’s feasting, dancing, feasting, speech, feasting, jokes, feasting, stories, feasting, fireworks, feasting…something about a Ring, feasting…etc, all barefoot of course (in other words, the exact way I’ve always wanted to celebrate my birthday since reading the books).
Happy Birthday, Bagginses! May you always have pipweed to smoke and cheese and pie stocked in your larder. And may you always inspire the rest of us to chase the wizard down the road and make him take us on an adventure whether he needs another burglar or not.
So today I celebrated quietly (sadly, not by going to New Zealand or Oxonmoot–those will wait for another someday-never wish), wearing a Ring on a chain around my neck, performing in a symphony concert, and celebrating survival of said symphony concert with fudgey frozen yogurt.
Because I deserve it, my prreciouss.
I also snuck a few minutes (and almost was late for soundcheck!) to read a chapter or two of The Wise Man’s Fear.
I can’t actually remember the last time I had this much of a slaphappy relationship with a book. One day, I’m in love. The words swirl around me and I laugh, giddy as a bird on a first flight, enchantress casting her first spell. The next, the world comes crashing down around my ears and I’m ready to track down the bearded madman Mr. Rothfuss and voice incoherent complaints in his face before breaking down sobbing. And slapping, most likely.
In simpler terms…
He’s a genius of an author. I love the way he writes.
Which is why I also hate this book a little more.
I don’t read books for dirty trash talk, innuendo, or obscene references. They’re actually the top things that make me quit reading a book, however beautifully written it is. And while I’ve ground my teeth through a lot of it to see where he’s going with the characters and story I am so mesmerized by, I’ve about had enough.
It’s horribly frustrating.
I knew he’d do this. Some books drop hints. But knowing it’s coming doesn’t mean you’re prepared. Or that it hurts any less.
Books are my closest friends. When one of them lets me down, I’m crushed. I can’t figure out what to do. If you have a friend that you care about but is a horrible influence, do you call it quits? Do you keep going with them, arm in arm the whole way regardless of what everyone thinks of you, hoping everything will come out alright?
Books like this make me wonder how far I’ll go. How much I’m willing to do. It makes me wonder if really all you have to do is whisper silver words in my ear and I’ll follow you anywhere, like a child chasing fireflies straight into the forest from Grimm’s fairytales.
I don’t want that to be the case.
I’m also not ready to start thinking about telling Kvothe and Auri goodbye.
Really, it’s books like this, books that get under my skin, that break my slender thread of trust, that make me more sure than every that I have to write. Not that I want to or that I should, that I must.
I have to prove to myself that not all stories are sad ones. I have to know that I can make a world rise forth out of shadows and starlight. That somewhere, even if they are different from what we expect, if they seem like cowards, if they’re as broken and weak and human as the rest of us, heroes are real.
I have to make it so. Because I believe it to be true, down to my core. In some ways, The Name of the Wind showed me that. Some ways it didn’t. And since I seem to hear stories echoing in my head no one else knows, since no one else will tell me the stories I want to hear, I must tell them myself.
And I will.
But tonight I have homework. So I’ll be doing that, wishing Frodo and Bilbo a happy birthday, and listening to Jonsi’s “Together From Afar” on loop and trying not to tear up.
Tomorrow the sun will come up, and I’ll muddle through ’till I can get back to my ink and pens.
Maybe I’ll even find a story that makes someone as happy as the Hobbits made me.